Punishment and Humiliation Secret to Weight Loss, Says Yeltsin’s Daughter

By Sadie Bass

Jan 12, 2010 11:45am

ABC's Alexander Marquardt reports from Moscow: What is the secret to dramatic weight loss? Friends… and the threat of punishment and humiliation, says the daughter of late Russian President Boris Yeltsin.  Calling her recently blogged advice a “diet” is a bit generous; she gives no nutritional tips and only a general recommendation to exercise. Essentially it boils down to: drop your target weight – and keep it off – or else… “I know how it is possible to lose weight quickly by a certain date,” writes Tatiana Yumasheva, who was once her father’s chief-of-staff and perceived to be one of the most powerful women in the country. “Several girls asked me to reveal how it’s done. This is my secret. Valuable and hard-won.” Get a group of friends, colleagues or family members who all want to lose weight, she says, “as long as you’re not doing this alone.” The “key” is what happens if you don’t succeed. “The punishment must be truly terrible. In fact, this is the essence of my method.” “When I worked at the Kremlin, I was so plump,” she recalls, saying she now can’t stand looking at old pictures.  The plan to lose weight started when she and some Kremlin friends had a “delicious and filling” Christmas meal but felt so ashamed after, that they decided to all lose weight by March 7. What should be the reward, some asked. None, Russia’s former First Daughter responded, “Our beautiful, slender bodies.” “But whoever doesn’t lose weight, will get a severe punishment.” They laughingly devised a punishment for each person. One man who had recently bought a BMW would have to sell it, buy a cheap Russian car, paint it pink with flowers and drive it for six months. A woman with two university degrees who spoke several languages would have to give up her cushy position and become a secretary. Yumasheva thinks her punishment would have been the worst if she didn’t lose 22 pounds: to wear floor-length evening dresses to work and speak only English, a language she was struggling with at the time.
“If I had to endure this punishment, everyone would say Yeltsin’s daughter had gone crazy,” she says. The entire group succeeded in shedding the weight. How? That was up to them, they were free to choose any diet they wanted. Yumasheva tried not to eat after 6pm and did a lot of sports. But losing the weight wasn’t enough, they had to keep it off. The group met every Friday, any member could challenge another to step up onto the scales. Everyone succeeded maintaining their trimmer figures. “Try it, it works,” writes Yumasheva, who says she has since led dozens of others through the “diet.” Only one person has failed, she says, despite the threat of terrible punishment. “To your health,” she closes.

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